How to Reverse The Tooth Decay?
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How to Reverse The Tooth Decay?

When a tooth is exposed to acid frequently — for example, if you eat or drink often, especially foods or drinks containing sugar and starches — the repeated cycles of acid attacks cause the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A white spot may appear where minerals have been lost. This is a sign of early decay. Illustration: Tooth Decay Copyright ? 2000 BSCS and Videodiscovery. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Tooth decay can be stopped or reversed at this point. Enamel can repair itself by using minerals from saliva, and fluoride from toothpaste or other sources. But if the tooth decay process continues, more minerals are lost. Over time, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. A cavity is permanent damage that a dentist has to repair with a filling. ow can we help teeth win the tug of war and avoid a cavity? Use fluoride Fluoride is a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing. It can even reverse, or stop, early tooth decay. Fluoride works to protect teeth. It . . . prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel and replaces lost minerals reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid You can get fluoride by: Illustration: Boy Drinking Water with Fluoride Copyright ? 2000 BSCS and Videodiscovery. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Drinking fluoridated water from a community water supply; about 74 percent of Americans served by a community water supply system receive fluoridated water. (If you have well water, see “Private Well Water and Fluoride” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.) Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste If your dentist thinks you need more fluoride to keep your teeth healthy, he or she may?a Apply a fluoride gel or varnish to tooth surfaces Prescribe fluoride tablets Recommend using a fluoride mouth rinse About Bottled Water ??¡§?C Most bottled water does not contain enough fluoride to prevent tooth decay. If your child drinks only bottled water, talk with a dentist or doctor about whether your child needs additional fluoride in the form of a tablet, varnish, or gel. Keep an eye on how often your child eats, as well as what she eats. Your child’s diet is important in preventing a cavity. Remember . . . every time we eat or drink something that contains sugar or starches, bacteria in our mouth use the sugar and starch to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth’s enamel. Our saliva can help fight off this acid attack. But if we eat frequently throughout the day — especially foods and drinks containing sugar and starches — the repeated acid attacks will win the tug of war, causing the tooth to lose minerals and eventually develop a cavity.

The Tooth Decay Process: How to Reverse It and Avoid a Cavity What’s inside our mouths? Illustration: Bacteria Copyright ? 2000 BSCS and Videodiscovery. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Our mouths are full of bacteria. Hundreds of different types live on our teeth, gums, tongue and other places in our mouths. Some bacteria are helpful. But some can be harmful such as those that play a role in the tooth decay process. Tooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids. Over time, these acids can make a cavity in the tooth. What goes on inside our mouths all day? Throughout the day, a tug of war takes place inside our mouths. Illustration: Tug of War Between Bacteria and Sugars Versus Saliva and Fluoride On one team are dental plaque?aa sticky, colorless film of bacteria?aplus foods and drinks that contain sugar or starch (such as milk, bread, cookies, candy, soda, juice, and many others). Whenever we eat or drink something that contains sugar or starch, the bacteria use them to produce acids. These acids begin to eat away at the tooth’s hard outer surface, or enamel. Illustration: ACID vs. ACID ATTACK Copyright ? 2000 BSCS and Videodiscovery. All rights reserved. Adapted with permission. On the other team are the minerals in our saliva (such as calcium and phosphate) plus fluoride from toothpaste, water, and other sources. This team helps enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost during an “acid attack.” Our teeth go through this natural process of losing minerals and regaining minerals all day long. How does a cavity develop?

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